I really identified with your story on Kiaran McLaughlin [“Beating the Odds,” July/August 2006]. At 19 I woke up one morning with blurred vision, the first sign of multiple sclerosis. I became 90 percent paralyzed on my right side. Eventually the paralysis passed, and I was able to resume walking and then running. Within five years I could do 12 miles and, at 40, was in the best shape of my life and met a beautiful woman willing to marry me. But then, I was dealt another setback: cancer. Three surgeries later and a few parts removed, I came to believe there's more to life than boredom.
The past 15 years have been a roller coaster, with high peaks of 12-mile runs and clear thoughts alternating with low valleys of no exercise and many aches, pains, and visual oddities. I'm now coming out of a valley. I force myself to go out and run for as long as possible. I'm feeling better every day. Today is a bright, sunny, warm day. Life is good.
I've found that anger, irritation, and stress are very harmful, and that diet and a stress-free lifestyle along with a positive attitude seem most helpful. Like Kiaran McLaughlin, I realize laughter helps. Best of luck, Kiaran, and thanks for sharing your story.